ADAPTIVE CHAIR YOGA

5 Reasons It's for EVERYONE!

ADAPTIVE CHAIR YOGA

5 Reasons It's For EVERYONE

There are many barriers that keep people from trying yoga. Some are related to health, physical challenges, and body image issues. Others stem from preconceived ideas of what a yogi is. In my case, I thought I couldn’t do yoga because I had a spine injury caused by a car accident when I was 19 years old. 32 years later, I found the courage to walk into my first yoga class and everything changed.

by Mary Higgs

author image

by Mary Higgs

author image

There are many barriers that keep people from trying yoga. Some are related to health, physical challenges, and body image issues. Others stem from preconceived ideas of what a yogi is. In my case, I thought I couldn’t do yoga because I had a spine injury caused by a car accident when I was 19 years old. 32 years later, I found the courage to walk into my first yoga class and everything changed.

As someone with a spinal injury, I had to learn how to make yoga work for me. Along my yoga journey, I came across teachers and approaches that allowed me to see that I wasn’t alone and yoga really could work for every body. Like me, there were others with physical challenges needing to modify the practice.

Once I tried Adaptive Yoga and began customizing poses for my body, I found home. Developing a passion for Adaptive Yoga and becoming an Adaptive/Accessible Yoga Teacher transformed my life in unexpected ways. As a disabled Adaptive Yoga Teacher, one of my favorite classes to teach is Adaptive Chair Yoga. Steeped in the traditions of yoga, Adaptive Chair Yoga is a fun, creative, accessible, mindful practice that adapts yoga poses for the body. Adaptive Chair Yoga not only breaks down barriers to yoga by making it more accessible, it focuses on the mind-body connection of yoga by teaching students to trust and listen to their bodies.

(You can read more about Mary’s life-changing journey at www.YogiAble.com)

TOP FIVE REASONS TO TRY ADAPTIVE CHAIR YOGA:

If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a yoga practice, but questioning if it’s right for you – it is! Here are my top 5 reasons Adaptive Chair Yoga is for everyone:

1) Accessible For All

Adaptive Chair Yoga is accessible. There are no preconditions for learning Adaptive Chair Yoga. You don’t have to be flexible or physically able to try Adaptive Chair Yoga. This practice is open to anyone regardless of ability, size, or background. As a certified Accessible Yoga Teacher, my goal is to make everyone feel welcome, knowing that yoga is for everyone and they have come to the right place. Yoga is an inclusive and accessible practice for all.

2) Breaks Down Yoga Barriers

Adaptive Chair Yoga breaks down barriers to yoga. Everyone has a right to practice yoga; therefore, I encourage agency in my Adaptive/Accessible Yoga classes. I want students to customize poses and opt out of anything that doesn’t feel good in their body. Seeing themselves as an expert reminds yogis they are their own best yoga teacher. Teaching students to tap into their own guide and trust their instincts breaks down barriers to yoga.

3) Focuses On Mind-Body Connection

Adaptive Chair Yoga is a creative way to adapt yoga poses, allowing the opportunity to connect to all parts of yourself. Grounded in the traditions and teachings of yoga, Adaptive Chair Yoga focuses on the connection between mind and body over simply physical asana. In my view, yoga is not about the poses; it’s about paying attention to the body and bringing awareness to each moment. Adaptive Chair Yoga is not an easier form of yoga. It is a mindful approach that can bring deeper connection, balance and wisdom to our lives.

4) Teaches Inner Awareness

Adaptive Chair Yoga is a personal, body positive, noncompetitive experience. It teaches self love and acceptance by empowering students to listen within. Inner awareness is more than mindful practice; it involves the entire body. We observe the breath to feel grounding and expansion and embrace ourselves in the present moment. Learning this skill can bring ease into your life. It can also relieve tension/stress, help with pain management, and improve overall health and wellness.

5) Meets You Where You Are

Adaptive Chair Yoga celebrates uniqueness. Everyone’s practice is catered to their body. You don’t need to understand Sanskrit or purchase fancy attire to try Adaptive Chair Yoga. All we need is a chair and a willingness to still the mind and connect breath with movement. Our first lesson: start where you are, listen to your body, and trust the mind-body experience.

Adaptive Chair Yoga is open to anyone regardless of ability or background. It’s available anytime we need it. All we have to do is pull up a chair, find inner awareness, connect movement with breath, and give the body what it needs.

photo credit Sarit Z. Rogers

CONNECT WITH DEVATA

Mary Higgs, MA, is an Online English Instructor for Butler Community College in Kansas. She’s a writer, RYT 200, educator, risk taker, yoga diversity champion, and social justice & disability advocate. Mary has trained with Matthew Sanford, Jivana Heyman, Alexandria Crow, Dianne Bondy, Amber Barnes, and Jessa Voos. For more info, go to YogiAble.com.

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